Earth Hour 2008: another triumph!

March 29, 2008

The Sydney Harbour Bridge during Earth Hour_Nick Lomb

The Sydney Harbour Bridge during Earth Hour, image Nick Lomb

As in March 2007 lights went out all over Sydney for Earth Hour 2008 organised by WWF Australia. Clouds, light rain and distant electrical storms put a slight dampener on observations of the night sky, but not on the event. Fortunately, there were plenty of gaps in the clouds so that the large number of visitors to Sydney Observatory could still see the rings of Saturn and other spectacles in the sky through the telescopes scattered in the grounds.

Here are a few more images of Earth Hour 2008 in Sydney:

Sydney Harbour Bridge before Earth Hour_Nick Lomb

Sydney Harbour Bridge before Earth Hour, image Nick Lomb

North Sydney during Earth Hour_Nick Lomb

North Sydney during Earth Hour, image Nick Lomb

North Sydney before Earh Hour_Nick Lomb

North Sydney before Earth Hour. Note the outrageously bright lights outlining the new building Innovation Place. Image Nick Lomb

Sydney Opera House during Earth Hour_Nick Lomb

Sydney Opera House during Earth Hour, image Nick Lomb

Sydney Opera House after Earth Hour_Nick Lomb

Sydney Opera House after Earth Hour, image Nick Lomb

Fireworks at the end of Earth Hour from behind the Toaster_Nick Lomb

Fireworks at the end of Earth Hour from behind the Toaster, maybe in the Botanical Gardens, image Nick Lomb


Brief video of fireworks at the end of Earth Hour 2008 filmed by Sydney Observatory.

As the wave of darkness sweeps round the globe for Earth Hour 2008, we can start contemplating Earth Hour 2009, which will be during the International Year of Astronomy. Could all cars be encouraged off the roads for an hour? Could we have a double length Earth Hour so that more people could see the sky through telescopes? We will see, but in Sydney in 2008 it was a great success.

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10 responses to “Earth Hour 2008: another triumph!

  • Thanks for the pictures! Excellent to get a sense of how the city looked during and after. We turned off the lights at home. I was a bit surprised by the fireworks too, though, and not so sure that’s a good idea. I like the suggestion that next year, for the year of Astronomy, Earth Hour lasts for longer. How about a whole evening?

  • And … not to mention the carbon-producing effects of fireworks … I take it it was a carbon-neutral display, at the very least ! Goodness me ….. 🙂

  • Fireworks. We laughed our socks off. What ninkumpoopery to celebrate the end of what was supposed to be an hour’s respite for nature, and a reminder to all of the beauty of a sky undisturbed by unnatural light. Sydney – you made a fool of yourself last night.

  • Hello Kerrii. Sadly it was difficult to tell if there was a difference as there was too much cloud and lightning around. Certainly, switching off the Bridge floodlights makes a very noticeable difference at Sydney Observatory, especially for objects like Saturn which would have been in the upwards beam from those lights. I was hoping to actually make quantitative measurements of sky brightness with a specially designed Sky Quality Meter, but the clouds did not allow me to make any that were meaningful. I suspect that if it had been clear there would have been a small, but measurable difference. More importantly, the lack of glare allowed the eyes of people looking through the telescopes to become more dark adapted and hence they could see more than usual.

    Ivan. You are entitled to your opinion, but millions of people showed last night that they disagree with you.

    Liam. A valid comment, but it was a night of celebration showing that people working together can make a difference. As such I am unsure if complete consistency and logic were essential. Note that I have now uploaded a short AV of the fireworks.

  • Nick

    Those pictures are great but I really want to know what the difference was to how visible the night sky was through your telescope/s?

    How did the diminished light pollution change the telescopic view?

    Thanks

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